Client Relationships in the Digital Era: The Power of Personal Connection

March 15, 2024 | Denise Gelfand

In today’s fast-paced digital era, it’s critical for businesses to embrace technological innovations to stay afloat. However, amidst the sea of emails, virtual meetings, AI tools, and online transactions we experience every day, personal connection is more important than ever before. While businesses have adapted to the digital age and consumers now expect virtual options, going the extra mile to build meaningful personal connections is how the best service-based businesses successfully differentiate.

Trust and Rapport

Personal interactions are pivotal in establishing trust and rapport. Unlike digital communication, where anonymity can prevail, face-to-face meetings create space for genuine connections where clients can see the human side of the services they receive. The nuances of body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice contribute to sincerity and authenticity which lay the foundation of trust for enduring relationships. Yet, businesses working with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), often find it challenging to foster personal connections and trust due to their limited control over HR functions and lack of transparency around their costs.


Communication in service-based businesses is not merely about the exchange of information. Non- verbal cues such as gestures, facial expressions, and tone of voice contribute significantly to communication, enabling businesses to better understand clients’ unique needs and preferences. However, the co-employment relationship between the business and a PEO can present obstacles to effective communication due to the complexities of the arrangement and the potential for misalignment with the organization’s goals and values. Personal interactions can lead to more tailored and effective service delivery because it allows more open and transparent communication with the person behind the service offering.

Efficient Problem-Solving

Face-to-face interactions can facilitate prompt and efficient problem-solving. When possible, clients appreciate the dedication and sincerity conveyed when businesses prioritize in-person meetings. Personal interactions provide an avenue for transparent communication during challenges, showcasing commitment to resolution and exceptional service.  Nonetheless, businesses involved in a PEO may struggle to address client challenges promptly and effectively, as they contend with the constraints of the arrangement and the limitations in controlling HR functions.

Memorable and Positive Client Experiences

Personal interactions contribute to memorable and positive client experiences. A warm handshake, a genuine smile, and a personalized touch can leave a lasting impression that transcends digital interactions. The turnover within PEO service teams makes it challenging to deliver such personalized experiences.  In an age where customer experience is a key differentiator, the emotional impact of personal interactions is invaluable.

Personal Interactions

While digital tools offer convenience and efficiency, they should complement rather than replace personal interactions in service-based businesses. Technology best serves as an enabler, facilitating meaningful connections when face-to-face meetings are not preferred or feasible. Striking a balance between the virtual and physical realms takes dedication to servicing each client in their preferred way.

In the digital age, where virtual communication is prevalent, taking advantage of face-to-face connections remains essential for building trust and rapport, fostering effective communication, addressing challenges, and creating exceptional client experiences. However, for businesses operating within a PEO, navigating these personal connections amidst the complexities of the arrangement requires a thoughtful and strategic approach.  As businesses navigate the exciting and evolving technology revolution, the enduring significance of personal interactions serves as a timeless principle for success.

Written by Denise Gelfand & Haley Haldeman

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